Sidney Lumet Movies Earn Director Honorary Oscar + Controversial Al Jazeera Documentary

Sidney Lumet Movies: Half a century depicting power + its abuse and/or lackSidney Lumet movies of the last (almost) half a century have frequently dealt with power and its use/abuse – and/or lack. Among Lumet's most notable big-screen efforts are the U.S. justice system dramas 12 Angry Men and The Verdict; the nuclear holocaust-themed Fail-Safe; the socially conscious thriller Dog Day Afternoon; the cop dramas Serpico and Prince of the City; and Network, about the massive power of mass media.

Sidney Lumet movies earn 'Dog Day Afternoon' & 'Network' director an Honorary Oscar

Sidney Lumet, who began making movies nearly half a century ago and whose credits include the classics 12 Angry Men, Dog Day Afternoon, and Network, will be the next recipient of the Honorary Oscar, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Board of Governors has announced.

The award, in honor of the 80-year-old filmmaker's “brilliant services to screenwriters, performers and the art of the motion picture,” will be presented at the 2005 Academy Awards ceremony on Feb. 27.

Best Director Oscar nominations

Sidney Lumet first feature film came out in 1957, earning him a Best Director Academy Award nomination. Since then, he has been shortlisted for three other Best Director Oscars:

  • The courtroom drama 12 Angry Men (1957), starring Henry Fonda as the sole jury member who believes the accused may be innocent.
  • The biting social critique Dog Day Afternoon (1975), starring Al Pacino as a would-be bank robber.
  • The anti-TV comedy-drama Network (1976), featuring Peter Finch as a news anchorman who threatens to kill himself on air.
  • The Verdict (1982), another courtroom drama, this time with Paul Newman as a down-on-his-luck attorney.

All four films also received Best Picture Oscar nominations.

Additionally, Sidney Lumet and co-screenwriter Jay Presson Allen (Cabaret) were nominated for an Oscar in the Best Adapted Screenplay category for Prince of the City (1981), a drama about police corruption starring Treat Williams. (See also: Snubbed Doris Day & the Academy's Honorary Oscar + The Academy's Women Presidents.)

Sidney Lumet movies

Besides the titles mentioned above, Sidney Lumet movies include the following:

Sidney Lumet's latest courtroom drama, Find Me Guilty, is currently in post-production. The film stars The Fast and the Furious actor Vin Diesel.

Al Pacino Serpico: Sidney Lumet movies feature 18 Oscar-nominated actors including 4 winnersAl Pacino in Serpico. Eighteen actors featured in Sidney Lumet movies have gone on to receive Academy Award nominations. Four of them eventually took home the Oscar statuette. Al Pacino was a Best Actor nominee for Lumet's Serpico (1973) and Dog Day Afternoon (1975) – two of the highlights in both the actor's and the director's careers.

Sidney Lumet's actors and the Academy Awards

Thus far, 18 performances in Sidney Lumet films have gone on to receive Academy Award nominations, including four Oscar wins. The nominees were:

  • Katharine Hepburn, Long Day's Journey Into Night (1962).
  • Rod Steiger, The Pawnbroker (1965).
  • Al Pacino, Serpico (1973).
  • Albert Finney, Murder on the Orient Express (1974).
  • Al Pacino & Chris Sarandon, Dog Day Afternoon (1975).
  • William Holden & Ned Beatty, Network (1976).
  • Richard Burton & Peter Firth, Equus (1977).
  • Paul Newman & James MasonThe Verdict (1982).
  • Jane Fonda, The Morning After (1986).
  • River Phoenix, Running on Empty (1988).

Note: Sarandon, Beatty, Firth, Mason, and Phoenix were shortlisted in the Best Supporting Actor category.

Sidney Lumet's winners in the Academy Awards' acting categories were:

  • Best Supporting Actress Ingrid Bergman, Murder on the Orient Express (1974).
  • Best Actor Peter Finch, Best Actress Faye Dunaway & Best Supporting Actress Beatrice Straight, Network (1976).
Al Jazeera documentary Control Room: Qatar-based news network film elicits strong reactionsAl Jazeera documentary Control Room. Nearly three decades after Sidney Lumet's much talked about Network, Jehane Noujaim's Control Room – a look into the Qatar-based news network Al Jazeera – has elicited strong reactions at the Dubai Film Festival.

Al Jazeera Documentary 'Control Room': Controversial news network at inaugural Dubai Film Festival

Even if there aren't any Sidney Lumet movies being screened at the 2004 Dubai Film Festival, one entry – about a television network, no less – has created quite a bit of a stir.

“You're appalling, you son of a dog. May your house be destroyed!” one Egyptian woman yelled during a Dubai Film Festival screening of Jehane Noujaim's Control Room, which goes behind the scenes at the Qatar-based, Arabic-language news network Al Jazeera.

The woman's anger was directed at U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who, following the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, is shown dismissing scenes of grieving Iraqis and bombed-out buildings as having been “stage-managed.”

Control Room was one of dozens of films presented at the first edition of the Dubai Film Festival, which ran for a week in early Dec. 2004.

Radical Muslim propaganda?

The George W. Bush administration and the U.S. military have claimed that Al Jazeera is an anti-American tool for Muslim radicals, an accusation vehemently refuted by the network.

Thus far, five Arab countries, among them U.S. allies Iraq and the Muslim kingdom of Saudi Arabia, have banned the station. According to Al Jazeera itself, to date Control Room has not been distributed in any Arab nation.

Orlando Bloom & Morgan Freeman at Dubai festival

Orlando Bloom, best known for Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and three-time Academy Award nominee Morgan Freeman (Street Smart, 1987; Driving Miss Daisy, 1989; The Shawshank Redemption, 1994) are two Hollywood celebrities who showed up at the 2004 Dubai Film Festival, which is supposed to work as a cultural bridge between the Muslim and the non-Muslim worlds.

Additionally, Dubai Film Festival organizers announced that more than 70 top-rated Arab performers, producers, and directors from Egypt, Syria, and Kuwait took part in the festival. Among those present were actors Duraid Lahham and Laila Olwi, directors Ali Badrakhan and Hala Khalil, and producers Safwat Ghatas and Mohamed Hussein Ramzy.

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (A.M.P.A.S.) website.

Dubai Film Festival website.

Image of Al Pacino in Sidney Lumet's Serpico: Paramount Pictures.

Jehane Noujaim's Al Jazeera documentary Control Room image: Magnolia Pictures.

“Sidney Lumet Movies Earn Director Honorary Oscar + Controversial Al Jazeera Documentary” last updated in February 2018.

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  1. Lawrence Chadbourne says:

    I'll go with Running On Empty